born 1940

Wilma Rudolph sprinted to 3 gold medals in the 1960 Rome Olympics, becoming the fastest woman in the world and an inspiration to athletes everywhere ~ and a role model to African American females.

It was a remarkable feat for a girl who'd grown up poor and crippled in the segregated South. But Wilma, who'd thrown off a leg brace at age 12 and won despite a twisted ankle at the Games, always vowed her life would be different. Returning home a legend, she even nixed a party in her honor until the Tennessee governor allowed the parade and banquet to be integrated events ~ a first for her hometown.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Wilma Rudolph (10)

"I knew the best way to cheer him up was to win myself ~ and win good."

Signature Game | september 1960

"The triumph can't be had without the struggle."

Wilma Rudolph | 1961

"My doctor told me I would never walk again. My mother told me I would. I believed my mother."

Wilma Rudolph | unknown

"I don't know why I run so fast. I just run."

Rudolph ran and the world went wild | unknown

"I loved the feeling of freedom in running, the fresh air, the feeling that the only person I'm competing with is me."

Wilma | 1977

"Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose."

Wilma | 1977

"What do you do after you are world famous and nineteen or twenty and you have sat with prime ministers, kings and queens, the Pope? Do you go back home and take a job? What do you do to keep your sanity? You come back to the real world."

Ebony Magazine {quoted in Wilma Rudolph by Jennifer Joline Anderson} | 1984

"I was challenging every boy in the neighborhood at running, jumping, everything. I could beat most of them. I wanted to show that there was something special inside of me."

Wilma Rudolph: It's Important To Be Yourself And Have Self-Confidence | january 1989

"Sometimes it takes years to really grasp what has happened to your life."

I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women who Changed America | march 1989

"I believe in me more than anything in this world."

Great Olympic Moments | january 1992
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curated with care by Kathleen Murray {august 2014}